Hay fever and allergies in the UAE: why are they so bad right now?.

Nick Webster | The National News

If you’re reading this while sneezing and rubbing your eyes, you’re not the only one.

High humidity, pollen and poorly maintained air-conditioning units are causing moreallergic reactions, like sneezing and coughing, during the summer, according to doctors.

A potent cocktail of contributing factors have created a miserable few weeks for some, as more time is spent indoors as the summer heats up.
That has left those with allergic reactions feeling the effects of pollen, poorly maintained AC units and dust mites embedded in carpets and bedding, causing runny noses, itchy eyes and even breathing difficulties.

Poor air quality a driving force
Climatic conditions, with poor air quality delivered by pollution and dust, are often worse in warmer weather.

An air quality index indicates environmental pollutants, and how safe it is for people to go outside, particularly those with chronic respiratory conditions,the elderly and young children.

An AQI green reading of 0-50 is considered safe, whereas colours from yellow, orange and red show the air is getting more polluted and can impact existing breathing problems.

A purple reading of 201-300 AQI is seen as very unhealthy, while the most dangerous rating is coloured maroon and has an ACI reading of more than 300, where outdoor exertion should be avoided.

In Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, a maximum reading of 184 AQI was recorded by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, with poor air quality
graded in the red zone, meaning people would probably feel the effects and outdoor exertion should be limited.

In Dubai, air quality is expected to worsen in the coming days, with an AQI reading of between 160-180 forecast for the weekend.

Dr Kiran Kumar Rai, head of paediatrics at Burjeel Day Surgery Centre, Reem Island, said regular maintenance of air-conditioning units can help to reduce symptoms of poor air quality inside homes.

“The main allergies at this time of year are caused by air conditioning, particularly in children who are spending more time indoors,” he said.
“In other parts of the world, it usually happens in spring from pollen and flowering plants.

“Here it is more likely a result of the indoor environment and also dust and sand in the air outside.

“It can be a problem when it is windy as fine particles of dust can cause an allergic response,” Dr Rai said.

“People should try and stay inside at this time, or at least wear a facemask if they need to go out then.

“If there is fungal mould, particularly in the AC ducts at home or in the office, it will cause a reaction so they should be cleaned regularly.”

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